Review - Hostage - Chris Bradford

Hostage (Bodyguard, #1)Title: Hostage (Bodyguard #1)
Author: Chris Bradford
Genre: Young Adult
Publication: May 2nd 2013, Puffin Books
Pages: 420 Pages
Source: Thank you to Penguin Publishers for providing me with the opportunity to read and review Hostage :)
Rating: 4/5 CUPCAKES!
In a dangerous world, everyone needs protection. 
No one suspects that a teenager could protect someone – but Connor Reeves is no ordinary 14 year old. He’s a professional bodyguard trained in surveillance, anti-ambush techniques, hostage survival and unarmed combat. When he’s summoned to protect the President’s daughter, his protection skills face the ultimate test.
Alicia doesn’t want to be guarded. She just wants to have fun. With no clue that Connor is her bodyguard, she tries to escape the Secret Service and lead him astray. But unknown to her and Connor, a terrorist sleeper cell has been activated. 
Its mission: to take the President’s daughter HOSTAGE.

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When I received Hostage to review, I was quite excited to begin reading. I read Chris Bradford's first book, Way of the Warrior, a couple of months ago and I really enjoyed it! It was incredibly well-written and action packed. If you thought Way of the Warriors was good, Hostage was even better, containing nail-biting, on the-edge-of-your-seat excitement. I can say it is definitely one of the top books I have read this year.

Hostage is about fourteen year old Connor, who has just gained the title of Kick-Boxing Champion, when things take an unexpected turn, he finds himself hired by Buddyguard - a secret organization that trains kids to be undercover bodyguards. After being trained in surveillance, anti-ambush techniques, hostage survival and unarmed combat, Connor is sent on his first assignment, to protect the President of America's daughter. Nobody suspects that there will be any danger on Connor's first assignment, but when there is a surprise terrorist attack, Connor will have to put everything into action that he has learnt, his goal is just to prevent Alicia from being harmed - even if it means laying down his life.

Wow. I really wasn't expecting such a gripping, heart-pounding novel. I've read quite a few spy/detective/action books in my life but never have had such a unique idea or given me such a high adrenalin rush. Hostage is incredibly unique. The idea of undercover, teenage bodyguards is genius.I'm so used to the teenage spy thing but Hostage offers a unique approach, as he isn't a spy he's a bodyguard, or to put it more precisely, a buddyguard. I love it when authors come up with these unique ideas as it really sets their novels apart from other books that are on the market.

The plot was fantastic. There was seriously non-stop action and I when I had to go do something, I regretted putting the book down.  I'm not kidding when I say almost every chapter ends with a cliff-hanger, and the chapters are short, so when you say you'll finish one more could lead to you finishing the whole book in one sitting. Especially towards the end of the novel, the last few chapters were intense and there was one point when I was reading so fast to find out how this would end that I actually had to make myself read the text slightly slower so that I could drink in all that was happening. A few of the events had my heart-racing and my palms sweating and I honestly couldn't believe how the story was unfolding.

I liked Connor as a main character. He was brave, loyal, charming, kind and would risk everything in order to protect the life of his Principal, Alicia.
He handled his assignments with maturity and understanding and understood the consequences of all his actions. A really lovely main character!

Alicia herself was a nice enough character, and you could feel the frustration and unfairness she felt due to her protected life. If I was Alicia I would be going off my head, she was constantly being watched and guarded and I didn't blame her for wanting to take off at any chance she got, however, I did find her slightly stupid to go off unprotected but she learnt her lesson in the end and finally understood why she had to have security with her at all times.

The only improvement I could hope for, is for us to learn a bit more about Connor and the Principal. I felt like we knew him and Alicia but we didn't perhaps get a proper and complete understanding for them. If we had a bit more details of the characters, I think Hostage would be the perfect novel.

The writing was once again phenomenal. Chris Bradford has a way of words, his words pull you into the world he has created, and you see everything through his eyes as well as your own. Another thing I really appreciated about Hostage, and of the author, is that you could see his researched the topic of being a body-guard and what commences in the training and strategies for it, and I even read somewhere that he went to take a course in training for those kind of stuff in order to write Hostage. Not many authors do that, and I appreciate that he did. There have been books that I have read, although very little, that you can tell the author has written just what they think they know and not really the truth of the matter. 

You know what else I loved? Is I actually learnt so much whilst reading Hostage. I learnt about techniques bodyguards used, I learnt about Code White, Code Yellow, Code Orange and Code Red, and I have even tried practising, myself, to be in Code Yellow at all times. My mom's one friend's two little boys, aged ten and seven, are into this whole spy/combat thingy and I was trying to  explain to them all I had learnt in Hostage and I was actually surprised I now know so much, I felt like a complete genius after reading Hostage!

Hostage is a fantastic new novel to the start of what I am predicting is going to be a highly popular series. With moments that make your heart race, a loveable, brave main character and the unique original idea, you will adore this book! I honestly cannot wait for the next one as Hostage was such an amazing adventure! I hope that they'll create a movie for Hostage as it would be awesome to see everything that enfolds in the book, enfold on the big screen. A novel that should not be missed.

I give it: 5/5 CUPCAKES!